By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (November 17, 2001)

Cadres, organizations, and networks continue to mobilize and organize toward the redemption, salvation, and liberation of African people throughout the world. One of the methods utilized to achieve this liberation objective, over the last 170 years, has been through the convening of national and international conferences to discuss, deliberate, debate, and strategize over the best tactics, programs, and projects African people should pursue toward this ultimate objective of independence and liberation.

Such is the case of the State of the Black World Conference that will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, November 28 through December 2, 2001. My longtime movement friend and colleague Dr. Ron Daniels has been working with a diverse sector of movement forces over the last year in organizing this conference. Brother Ron has used his considerable expertise as an organizer, activist, and scholar since the 1960’s in a variety of capacities.

In 1994, Brother Ron spearheaded the organizing of the successful State of the Black World Conference that was held in Baltimore, Maryland and was instrumental throughout the 1970’s in the organizing of the National Black Political Convention and its outgrowth, the National Black Political Assembly that focused on independent Black Politics.

It is important that the spirit, enthusiasm, and energy that emerged from the participation of the Durban 400 in the United Nations World Conference Against Racism (WCAR), that took place in Durban, South Africa, August 31 through September 7, 2001, be significantly infused into the proceedings of the State of the Black World Conference (SOBWC), particularly on the issue of reparations.

We agree with The Call Statement of the SOBWC that concisely states, "As people of African descent, Black people, enter a new millennium, everything has changed for our people but fundamentally nothing has changed. In the motherland, the continent of Africa, our people have been liberated from colonialism, but the voice of Kwame Nkrumah speaks to us from the grave— Africa is neither genuinely free nor united. The motherland is still in the clutches of the former colonial powers that control much of the land, wealth, natural resources, and the economies of our new nations, rendering our liberation an exercise in flag independence. We have symbols without substance and governments without real power. On the richest continent on earth neo-colonialism is the order of the day."

The Call Statement makes crystal clear our challenges relative to the African continent. And this is why the unity displayed by African Governments, African Non-Governmental Organizations, and numerous African Movement Organizations at the WCAR is so important in our continual discussions of the outcome of the conference. This will be lifted up in a major way at the SOBWC.

The impact of African Unity at the WCAR resulted in declaring that "slavery and the slave trade are a crime against humanity." The Durban Declaration called "on states to take appropriate and effective measures to halt and reverse the lasting consequences of those practices." Even though it was not specifically stated, we take this to mean "a call for an apology and reparations."

At the SOBWC, we will be reporting, participating, and discussing in a major plenary session on Friday afternoon, November 30th, the implications of our organizing work at the WCAR and its relationship to the growing worldwide African Reparations Movement.

Further, the SOBWC Call Statement explains, "In the United States, though the walls of legal segregation have been abolished and we have a multitude of Black faces in elected offices previously occupied by white faces, in the rural areas of the South, the vestiges of apartheid remain painfully intact. Black farmers continue to lose land at an alarming rate and the urban ghettos resemble domestic colonies— disempowered zones of desolation and despair where our people suffer from the ravages of poverty and neglect. While we have more middle class and upwardly mobile Blacks than at anytime in our history on these hostile shores, neither our growing Black National Income, nor our political potential has translated into real economic and political power for the masses of Black people. Racial profiling, police brutality, tougher sentencing, more prisons, and the death penalty are harsh facts of life for the huge number of our people in the U.S. The prison-jail industrial complex is being built on the backs of the descendants of enslaved Africans."

We are going to the SOBWC with the spirit of the Durban 400 still fresh in our hearts. We are going to the SOBWC to continue to participate in the tradition established by our ancestors in the early nineteenth-century when they organized one of our first National Conferences in American called the "Negro Convention Movement" in 1830 in Philadelphia. We are going to SOBWC to continue the process of networking, exchanging valuable information, and finding ways to build on the small victories of the WCAR that declared the "Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery a Crime Against Humanity." We are going to the SOBWC to help strengthen our organizing work around our just demand for reparations for African people.

Hope to see you there!

National Chairman
National Black United Front (NBUF)

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